July 14, 2005

BOMBED IN LONDON!

My mom phoned me to ask if any of my friends had been hurt by the London bombings. I told her not to worry, that my drunk-ass friends there get bombed regularly. But seriously folks, I told her I hadn't really called around hunting for tragedy. The death toll wasn't that high and I assume I'd hear about any bad news should there be any. Now I'm a southern drag queen who loves her momma, and I know that she was genuinely concerned about my many English friends. But there is a tendency to wallow in tragedy. There is certainly nothing wrong with expressing shock and horror over it, mourning the dead and memorializing them. It's only fitting.

I live near St. Vincent's Hospital where many of the 9/11 victims were taken. On a nearby fence, commemorative tiles have been hung by the families of the dead/wounded and well-wishers. I often see tourists pause to read or photograph them. A pottery shop around the corner cutely called OUR NAME IS MUD has even hung tiles coaxing people to their shop to create tiles of their own.

I have no problem with any of that.

BUT IS GRIEF THE ONLY EMOTION WE CAN FEEL AT ONE TIME?

Instant, unexpected loss of a loved one must cause chaotic, long-term grief for the victim's family and loved ones. I'm excusing them from the following diatribe so as not to appear insensitive. But for the rest of us, I think random mass murders should lead to feeling something else. Are we going to wallow in tragedy and do nothing to try to rectify the situation which is causing it? Wouldn't finding the root of the problem reduce the likelihood of it happening again?

For the root, we need look no further than the White House. Bush has stirred up a hornet's nest with his unjust crusade of a war in Iraq and one of the hornets just flew to London with it's deadly sting. WE ARE CREATING TERRORISTS! One of the bombers was 18 years old! Not subject to the pro-war news/propaganda in the US, muslims in every land are horrified by tales of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and the recent one where detained, suspected insurgents were cooked to death in a metal box in the desert heat. Randi Rhodes mentioned it on her blistering AIR AMERICA broadcast yesterday, though I doubt if it got much coverage with this blasted spaceship dominating the headlines. But the tale of humans cooked to death must spread like wildfire in muslim news outlets or truthful non-muslim ones! If terrorism is the enemy, then why are we creating more of them with outrages like torture or this unjust war itself?

Don't get me wrong. In my constant slamming of Dubya's foreign policy--as opposed to his great domestic ones??!!??--don't think for a second that I condone muslim extremists with their barbaric, hateful attitudes towards women and gays. (I like to get stoned, but not with the actual stones thrown at me.) But as much as we like to joke about the fanciful promise made to the suicide bombers about the virgins they could screw in heaven, the truth is that some of them are crazy and will continue to attack us no matter what, but it's also true that WE have done our part to drive them crazy, and we continue to inflame them. We've been riding rough-shod over any country in our way or which has something we want for decades and the ill-will we've created is coming home to roost. Unfortunately, bombs set off by cellphones don't discriminate between war-mongers and peace-niks. Or even muslims, for that matter.

One emotion that goes hand in hand with the deep mourning of a large-scale bombing is fear. And even though the government did not raise the threat level after London's incident and stated that no new intelligence warned of new dangers on our shores, for the days following the attacks CNN has treated us to "security experts" who are lead by questions like "Could an attack like the one in London happen here?". Duh, I think a much worse attack already has--like, remember 9/11? Anything to keep us scared, so that we'll keep backing Bush out of fear for our lives? For some reason, the blank-faced moron with that kiddie's goat book in Farenheit 9/11, with his inept security which bungled warnings of 9/11 and his inability to sufficiently tighten airport security to stop even those amateurs who flew around the country with concealed metal objects to demonstrate how unsafe the airlines still are, THIS IMBECILE MAKES US FEEL SAFE?!? WHY?

Maybe we should try listening to the terrorists. We can't even seem to win a war against the terrorists who never were in Iraq, a poor country which couldn't even shoot a WMD anywhere near us if they had one, yet they are able to continue to confound our well-trained forces. (Ever think we mght not want an exit strategy because then we can't "protect" Iraqi oil? What's a few American soldier's lives in exchange for all that rich, black gold?) So if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. A novel approach, but perhaps not as outlandish as it sounds. For some reason, after 9/11, everyone else was thinking "What do we do?" while I was thinking, just as I am after the London bombings, "WHAT THE FUCK HAVE WE DONE?"? To make them attack us like this? Hey, they aren't playing fair, but neither are we! After 9/11, Osama Been Forgotten stated that the attacks would continue until 3 changes were made.

1.That the US should stop supporting Israel's war efforts against Palestine.

2.That US troops should get off of Saudi holy land--this is akin, I guess, to us permitting an army of jihad warriors to be stationed outside St. Patrick's Cathedral.

3.That the US should lift the trade sanctions on Iraq so that among other things, Iraqi kids could obtain much-needed medicines. The sanctions were put in place because of supposed WMD's which it turned out weren't there--uh, but they still may turn up!

I AGREE WITH OSAMA ON ALL THREE OF THESE DEMANDS! I denounce his diabolical methods of making them, but it may have been his only way of getting us to pay attention to 3 big mistakes we've made in our foreign policy. And if his demands are reasonable and the alternative to meeting them is devastatingly cruel, why not admit that we, the US, is wrong?

Don't you dare think I'm saying we deserved 9/11 or that London deserved the bombings. I wouldn't even wish a fiery grave in a collapsing sky-scraper on Paris Hilton. But we've GOT to feel more than shock and horror and grief. We've got to feel enough inquisitiveness to ask HOW CAN WE STOP THESE ATTACKS? And honey, the answer isn't attacking and occupying an oil-rich nation which is unconnected to Al Qaeda and cooking it's citizens to death! Even if we have no sense of rectitude our self-preservation instincts should have kicked in after we're done grieving. Or we will all be doing a lot more grieving for the rest of our lives. No government, super-power or not, can fight everyone with a cellphone.

34 Comments:

Blogger east village idiot said...

I read about the Iraqi men that died in the hellacious van incident. All I could think was - how the hell are we any different at this point than the hateful regime we overthrew? It seems to me that war is about oil and we are paying with the blood of Iraqis and Americans. I think the only answer is public protests out in the street. we have no power in washington. Take a look - that satanic Karl Rove still has a job!

12:48 PM  
Blogger Steveo said...

All I know is that this country gets to be a scarier place to live in every day, and the terrorits are not the reason. Keep up the good work bunny.

1:29 PM  
Blogger thismyshit said...

It's like the US has tried to be this perfect American Family. Unfortunately over recent years the world has reminded us that we are not. Face it folks: Fantasia is beginning to crumble....Bastian! Call her name!...

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this post. of course the modus operandi was wrong, brutal, unforgiveable, but it accomplishes nothing if one simply says "oh well, there's just something wrong with them, that's why they did this."

*big kiss to you*

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

another great post....and I agree with all points ....there is a chance this bomb may never had happenned if the UK had not sent troops to iraq.... but lets also not forget that americans used to fund the IRA and they killed more people than this bomb.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Lady Bunny said...

Very good point--the UK was our main ally so maybe that's why they were hit. Though I suspect they hit anywhere they can.

I did not know about the funding of the IRA because I haven't been "politically aware" for very long. But IRA or Iraq, we're always fucking around somewhere. Air America mentioned some forgotten invasion of the Dominican Republic in the 60's which I'd never heard of. Though I do kinda like the idea of holding Dominican men captive...Oink!

9:25 PM  
Blogger Lady Bunny said...

But I don't know who Bastian is either...

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My goodness! Not content with 8 years of the Bush administration, arguments like these will guarantee the re-election of Republicans for the forseeable future!

No, Bush has not "stirred up a hornet's nest" -- the development of radical Islamists is rooted is historical events, yes, including mistakes by a variety of post-WWII American administrations. In fact, the development of radical Islam had been identified as a disturbing trend within a number of countries long before violence was visited on our shores.

I am most stunned by the naivete with which you treat Osama bin Ladn's alleged demands.

While you phrase the demands very politely, bin Ladn is not asking for a peaceful two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict. His Arabic speeches and writings demand that Jews be killed whenever and wherever possible. That's okay by you?

Also, if you recall, U.S. troops were not sent to Saudi Arabia on a whim -- they were sent there at the specific request of the Saudi Arabian government to retrieve Kuwait, and they remain there at the pleasure of the Saudi government. Should they come home? Perhaps? But bin Ladn needs to direct his argument to the Saudi government. Oh, wait! That didn't work, and they deported him!

The sanctions clearly didn't work, but remember, they were the product of multilateral thinking and U.N. agreement -- the very process you criticize Bush for avoiding. So let me get this straight: sanctions, which were agreed upon by the U.N. and turned out to be a bad idea, are the fault of the U.S. Unilateral military invasion, which is not going so well, either, is also the fault of the U.S. I'm beginning to see a pattern here.

Look, I'm not a blindly zealous defender of the current administration. But when you start blaming "Dubya" for the weather, you run the risk of just looking silly.

Read the works of Bernard Lewis. Study up on the House of Saud and their relationship with the U.S. going back to WWII. Check out the development of the Brotherhood of Islam in post-WWII Germany.

Violent Jihad, like other bad ideas, did not develop in a vacuum overnight. Ridding the world of it is likely to be time-consuming and painful. The good news, thought, is that we have rid the world of many bad ideas (Nazism, burning witches, etc.) and we are always trying to rid the world of additional bad ideas (racism, sexism, abuse,etc.).

Placing the bad idea of violent Jihad into the category of routine political discontents dishonors the many men, women, and children who have given their lives in this historical struggle.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Bravo Lady Bunny! This post is wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to put things in perspective and with compassion for ALL human beings.

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Caitlin said...

Naturally!!!!! If only the people in charge were as smart as the smart people. And they actually cared.
I posted this a few places, but... Bush, talking about the London bomber people:

"The contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those who care deeply about human rights and human
liberty, and those who kill, those who've got such evil in their hearts that they will take the lives of innocent folks," Mr. Bush
said.

.....
This came right after he said

"On the one hand you have people working to alleviate poverty and rid the world of the pandemic of AIDS and ways to have a
clean environment and, on the other hand, you have people working to kill people."
-NY Times.

I hate this man.

(but I love you, Bunny!!!)

1:51 AM  
Blogger thismyshit said...

Bunny: Bastian is the kid in The Neverending Story who screams out the Childlike Empress's name (Moon Child) at the end of the movie in order to save the land of Fantasia from crumbling to pieces and being taken over by The Nothing. It sounded all vague and smart at the time...kinda beginning to regret the reference.....but you get my point...')

4:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think trying to talk with the terrorists is going to work either. Honestly, there's not a good answer to this. America soldiers cannot police the world, but on the other hand, by fighting a war on foreign soil they're keeping many other "terrorists" busy on their home turf, hence a lack of terrorism in our country.

Talking would be, unfortunately, fruitless. Look how much good it has done us in the past. Reconstruction was a nightmare, WWII was worse (which we tried desperately to first ignore the situation and then look for a diplomatic solution). Talking with terrorists is a rather idyllic solution. There are certain people that do NOT want to talk or possibly more accurate, are not able to talk.

Many "terrorists" from the Unabomber to the Columbine gunmen to Timothy McVeigh (yes, these are our domestic terrorists) have serious battles with mental illness. These terrorists are, most likely, very ill as well. However, the "American terrorists" have access and means to treatment, must Arab men do not and if they were pride would prohibit them from accessing it.

I guess, what I'm saying is that yes, we have created a monster. However this monster has been around for a long time. We've finally got a president who just didn't pay attention and we got hit. There are so many accusations toward Bill Clinton but honestly, there is always some sort of terrorism threatening us, we've just finally become privy to it because of our catastrophe. If September 11, 2001 would have happened in say, Tokyo or Berlin, we would have chalked it up to a horrible act of terrorism and left it at that. Sure we may have sent some troops on peacekeeping missions, but there is NO WAY we would have started a war. It's only because it affected us that we chose this battle. And the only reason we were hit is because of president let his guard down.

5:35 AM  
Anonymous msceleste said...

I just wanted to comment on a response from "Anonymous" to Bunny's London story. I don't think that Bunny is trying to say that Dubya is the cause of terrorism or that it didn't exist before him but let's be realistic here and admit that his actions ARE "stirring up a hornets nest". We are occupying an Islamic nation based on first, WMDs that didn't exist, second, a terrorist connection that didn't exist, and lastly, the spread of democracy that has proven to be a deadly blessing to over 100,000 Iraqis and a crippling one to 100s of 1000s of others. In the meantime though we'll gladly take their oil. Do you not think that this will create more of a susceptibility in the hearts of otherwise moderate Iraqis and Muslims throughout the world to an extremist point of view. Just as in the 60s when moderate Black Americans lost hope in peaceful resolutions to the race problems in the US and more and more of them sympathized with the extremist movement, by the actions of this administration we are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of Muslims everywhere who would otherwise be more willing to want peace than violence.

You mention that Bunny is naive in considering the demands of terrorist. I am sick and tired of this hyper-pride brand of jingoism in this country that prevents critical thinking and refuses introspection on the grounds that if we consider anything the terrorist say, they will have won. It's not all black and white. They are not doing this because they "hate us for our freedom". They are doing this because our foreign policy fucks them over. Should we just do everything that Bin Laden wants blindly? Of course not! But Bin Laden is not an idiot either. What he is asking for is not so extreme...he does not want to alienate moderate Muslims or come off as cruel and sadistic. He wants to be seen as a freedom fighter...someone who cares about his "people".

We are not fair when it comes to Israel. We criticized Arafat till the cows came home but rarely did we criticize the policies of Sharon, which were just as incendiary and violent though more organized. We should not support Israel unilaterally. If we want to be a mediator in the peace process that's one thing but when we are just supporting one side and overlooking it's actions and human rights record, then we will piss off a lot of people. Israel needs to be a better neighbor and less of a tyrant. When bombs that are made in the US are falling on Palestinian homes, there's bound to be some repercussions. Before Sharon, there was less violence there and during the Clinton administration there seemed to be at least an apparent effort to be somewhat impartial. Now we just seem to only be selling Israel bombs for peace.

As for Saudi Arabia, they did not just invite us in. When Kuwait happened, the US had a difficult time convincing the Saudis to let us in, they didn't request us to come. And the Saudi government had an even more difficult time explaining to its people why they let us stay. The government may want us there to protect it from the people it has pissed off and for business (OIL) reasons but the people don't want us there. And don't be naive in thinking that the Saudi government doesn't have a connection and open dialogue with terrorists like Bin Laden.

As far as the sanctions go, yeah the UN came up with them but they are inhumane and don't hurt who they should. We don't give them food or medical equipment but somehow or another defense companies from participating UN nations are still able to somehow sell them expensive defense equipment. For instance, despite sanctions on Iran, Cheney tried to get around them so his company could make money selling defense equipment to them (!?!?!).

This response has certainly turned out to be much longer than I intended but my point is this, terrorism isn't mindless violence. It is the response of the less powerful in fighting against the powerful. Israel doesn't need to resort to terrorism; they have expensive US-made bombs. What do the Palestinians have? Crappy SCUD missiles and home-made bombs. Terrorism is all about being resourceful and self-sacrificing. The most ridiculous thing is after 9/11 when George Bush called terrorist "cowards". Ummm, like it or not, you have to admit that these crazy fucks did one of the bravest things possible. They carried out a plan to completion that they knew would be the last thing they ever did. Just like our soldiers, they believe they are defending the freedom of their people. They are brave out of desperation. Is it so ridiculous to consider why this is happening no matter where the information comes from? We are making them desperate by creating orphans and being a tyrant. We are not only stirring a hornet's nest, we are throwing more bugs into it.

Now, to preempt responses from the likes of “Shaina”, I do not support terrorism. It’s wrong and evil. In the same way, I do not support invading and occupying a foreign country and inadvertently killing innocents in the name of democracy. I do not support torture of any sort. I am American in the truest sense of the word – about tolerance, peace, justice, and truth. As Teddy Roosevelt suggested, it is very un-American to blindly support everything the GOVERNMENT does.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not a war over oil. That arguement does not hold water. (BTW...I"m not the anonymous you're referring to...just wanted to say that from the start). The Gulf War wasn't really even an oil "rights" war. It was a war about property and equipment protection. American interests owned the refineries and wanted to keep them safe. Since President Bush Sr. had a great deal of money invested with these interests, he choose greed over diplomacy and started a war.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

msceleste is one of the few responses I've seen that actually attempts to mount arguments rather than simply shrieking, but I'm not sure who all these people are who are guilty of "hyper-pride" -- and as for seeing things in "black and white," well, it appears to me that anyone who even appears to not to spew hatred toward the U.S. is immediately branded as an unsophisticated rube.

The point that people in many Arab countries have legitimate grievances is absolutely true; however, it is important to understand *who* their grievances are legitimately against.

If you read serious scholarship on the history of the Middle East, you will find a few key historical developments -- or lack thereof -- that have left modern-day Arabs with a sense of powerlessness and disenfranchisement.

But here's the important point: IT HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WEST. There is nothing, short of suicide, that we could do to make the Arab world feel better about itself. The solutions and altered mindset must come from within the Arab world itself.

Now, that doesn't make me blind to American mistakes in foreign policy in the region over the past century. But the U.S. is simply not responsible for all the trouble in the world, and believing that we are *that* powerful is the ultimate imperialism.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous msceleste said...

The first anonymous says that the US war was not about oil but then goes on to say that "American interests" owned refineries and the war was to keep them safe. Um..........

The second anonymous basically said that the terrorists' grievances should not be with the US and that the west has nothing to do with it. I STRONGLY disagree. I agree that it IS a problem in their own society but we exacerbate it by throwing morals aside and following the money. One other example is how the US was involved in keeping dictators in Central and South America not so long ago because the dictatorships were better for American businesses so our government helped overthrow democratically elected governments. We meddle and it gets us in trouble. We piss people off by only considering the short term dollar benefits (which benefit the few i.e the Cheneys of the world) as opposed to the long term repercussions (i.e. the victims of 9/11.

I DO know a thing or two about the Middle East and we have been in bed with the worst of them in the region. We ARE quickly moving away from being a republic, as Gore Vidal says, and moving towards being a greedy empire both covertly and openly.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the things msceleste mentions seem to be the typical arguments that are really quite cliché. Don't depend on your American television or radio (Sorry Bunny, AirAmerica is just as bad if not worse than Fox News) for political information. You will always be led astray. If you're really interested in political matters start by studying world history (you'll get nowhere looking at this war as a stand alone event, because it's not). Then maybe a few polysci classes to learn how to think critically about our domestic and foreign policy. You will be amazed at how much you learn about our political structure, policy and it's effectiveness (of lack thereof). So many of these arguments are just garbage that has been regurgitated or summarized from the mass media and the opinions are, quite frankly, ill informed.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the things msceleste mentions seem to be the typical arguments that are really quite cliché. Don't depend on your American television or radio (Sorry Bunny, AirAmerica is just as bad if not worse than Fox News) for political information. You will always be led astray. If you're really interested in political matters start by studying world history (you'll get nowhere looking at this war as a stand alone event, because it's not). Then maybe a few polysci classes to learn how to think critically about our domestic and foreign policy. You will be amazed at how much you learn about our political structure, policy and it's effectiveness (of lack thereof). So many of these arguments are just garbage that has been regurgitated or summarized from the mass media and the opinions are, quite frankly, ill informed.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know *that much* about this issue, and, annonymous, i was wondering if you could explain why you think the problems come from the Arab world itself. Just because I'm curious.
thanx

10:05 PM  
Anonymous caitlin said...

oh, that was me sorry. I don't want to confuse it with more anonymouses.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous msceleste said...

I am not getting my info from the media. They've proven to be useless at getting information unless it has to do with a random white woman's abductions, deaths, or brain deaths. I also think that Air America is quite annoying. It's people talking to themselves and complaining. Randi Rhodes in particular irritates me. I read . Books by people in the government, by historians, by political scientists and occassionally by alternate forms of media. Don't just shrug off what I say as uninformed or misinformed. It certainly is not cliché. What IS cliché is dismissing any American criticism as liberal nonsense or un-patriotic. If we keep blaming the hate that other countries feel for the US on other countries, we are living in a dream world and awful things will continue to happen to us.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What IS cliché is dismissing any American criticism as liberal nonsense or un-patriotic."

This is the straw man that many of us are finally getting the nerve to reject!

Now, there's no doubt that you might be able to round up a group of people who actually believe that criticizing the U.S. is unpatriotic. Hell, as Dave Barry pointed out, you can gather a crowd for opera or nude dog wrestling, for that matter.

But you certainly won't hear that argument made among people who seriously discuss political or current events -- even people who consider themselves in general agreement with current U.S. foreign policy. I check in regularly on a number of conservative discussion groups, blogs, etc., and never *once* have I seen evidence of this cliche. In fact, these folks are usually too busy arguing amongst themselves about their own disagreements with various policies.

I often feel I must live in a different America than many of the rest of you. I live in an urban, multi-ethnic area that encompasses a wide range of economic circumstances. Yes, there are all the problems you would expect and more.

But I don't go to bed at night seriously worrying about a knock on the door from the secret police. The inter-racial couple who lives next door probably has experienced slurs, but no one has tried to murder them in their beds for breaking societal norms. The gay couple down the street has also probably experienced discrimination, but they live relatively unmolested in a rapidly appreciating two-flat that they own. The Hispanic, Asian, and Russian immigrants at the end of the block struggle to make a living, but they are thrilled that their children can go to school. My own family can wear religiously-distinctive clothing in public without fear of reprisal! Oh, and we can access the Internet and say anything we want!

These are small freedoms and opportunities that we take for granted -- freedoms and opportunities that are *not* universal, even within the Western world.

Does that make the U.S. perfect? Don't be ridiculous! Does our government do bad things? Constantly! Does that mean we should stop efforts to improve justice, equality, and opportunity? I certainly hope not, and I support the efforts of those who dedicate themselves to such activism!

Many of us, though, believe that the venomous self-hatred -- as opposed to criticism -- we hear has more to do with the aesthetic of "cool" than anything else. Cynicism about most things, including our country, is considered cool, even among people who are smart enough to know recognize it.

So read up on history and criticize all you want, but when you start comparing our admittedly imperfect government with Hussein's rape rooms and gassing of the Kurds, please count me out.

2:57 AM  
Anonymous msceleste said...

Well, I too live in a multi-ethnic urban environment and generally I am able to engage in serious intellectual, structured discussions with friends, colleagues. But unfortunately, I do not live in typical America. Have you travelled? If you did, you would find out that in most of this country, any American criticism, however true or benign, is not welcome. And you don't even HAVE to travel. Just turn on your television and listen to how our current administration deals with any sort of criticism.

As far as the freedoms that we have in this country, of course this is a great country and we have certain liberties but if you examine the trends in our government, especially the current administration, they are being threatened, twisted and ignored. Maybe not for you right now or your gay or interracial neighbors but certainly for other certain innocent people. For innocent people who were in custody for months without access to lawyers or family members. For protesters who were denied the right to protest and/or were arrested for no reason right here in this urban, diverse city that we live in. And there are other ways that our voices are squashed in this country. Take a look at the town hall style debates leading up to the British elections and compare them to our presidential town hall debates. Any candid questions that may be construed as controversial or critical have no place in our country anymore...only scripted pre-packaged q&a's.

And sure I can write something on a blog or on the Internet in general and most likely only reach a few hundred like-minded people but nothing critical can be the main focus of the mass media. Most people have never heard of Jeff Gannon, the military escort peddler who was placed by the administration in the White House Press Room to lob softball questions at the president when the going got tough. That's a huge security issue and fraud. Why didn't it get the coverage it deserved as it was a corruption of power? Because the press feared retribution from the administration. The same thing with this Karl Rove story. There should be more outrage. Instead, the press treats it like there is an equal argument on either side avoiding to go into too much critical detail lest one of their own go down the road of the the unlucky New York Times Reporter. Meanwhile those who stay loyal to the administration (Rove, Novak) and lie for them are protected. Where is the outrage?

And as far as comparing Hussein's regime with what's going on over there thanks to our government, WHY can't we compare? WHY does the discussion stop once we become critical of our own actions. Though this government may not think so, we should not be exempt to the standards we put on our enemies. Throwing bombs on the homes and cities of innocent people has the same effect as gasing them...it kills. Holding suspects in a van in the middle of the desert has the same effect as shooting them in the head...it kills. We should be outraged with how this war is being handled and that we are not holding ourselves to the standards we set for others. By simply saying "Well, we're no Saddam!", we are belittling the problem and in essence not wanting to change or address it. We don't want to hear it. Don't want to see when we are wrong. Take Guantanemo Bay for instance. We are being accused by the international community of torture and not following the rules for prisoners that we helped put in place and hold others accountable for. Yet our government comes up with every excuse in the book or just flat out professes that we are above the international laws we helped create. Pride. It's an ugly thing. And to all those Christians out there, don't forget, it's one of the seven deadly sins.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why can't we compare our government to Saddam Hussein's government? It has nothing to do with pride; it has to do with a free press and rule (or at least relative rule) of law. Where was all the outrage a decade or two ago, when Iraqi emigres began telling horror stories?

We should consider stories such as Guantanemo Bay to be success stories -- not because they happened, but because our press reported them and people *did* respond. Now, perhaps people were not in general as outraged as you believe they should have been, but do you really believe that similar stories surface in countries without a free press?

One argument seems to be that if the U.S. doesn't live up to its ideals, we should hate ourselves and our government. Well, I suppose we could always lower the standards, but self-hate just isn't a great strategy for changing behavior or beliefs.

The argument that we should be outraged over government perfidy also seems like a losing battle. I can't think of a single presidential administration in the 30 years that *hasn't* covered up unpleasant details, attempted to manipulate the press, and behaved sleazily from time to time. Personally, I'm all out of outrage over it, and I've found the best solution is to avoid TV coverage, since that's what introduced "sound bite" governance in the first place.

As for all the places in the U.S. where you can't criticize our country, I have never encountered or seen this problem in the Midwest, South, or Northeast unless a lot of liquor was involved. However, I think it has a lot more to do with approach and attitude than criticism, and this gets back to the issue of self-hatred. When people feel that they are being denigrated, they are going to react strongly. Unfortunately, many individuals who complain about unwelcome criticism have confused criticism of the U.S. with intolerance toward those citizens who don't share their values.

The message, "our leaders are evil and the only people who agree with them are ignorant hicks" is not gonna win friends or influence people. And frankly, whether you believe it to be true or not, it's rude. But the message, "I'm really concerned about some of the decisions made by Donald Rumsfeld" will probably open up a whole different type of conversation. Or at least it will exclude loudmouths on all sides of the debate who don't know who Donald Rumseld is . . . LOL!

8:53 PM  
Blogger 夕草 said...

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